Duties of Commission. The Commission shall:
1. Identify and study the elements of this stateís system of criminal justice which affect the sentences imposed for felonies and gross misdemeanors.
2. Evaluate the effectiveness and fiscal impact of various policies and practices regarding sentencing which are employed in this state and other states, including, but not limited to, the use of plea bargaining, probation, programs of intensive supervision, programs of regimental discipline, imprisonment, mandatory and minimum sentencing, structured or tiered sentencing, enhanced penalties for habitual criminals, parole, credits against sentences, residential confinement and alternatives to incarceration.
3. Recommend changes in the structure of sentencing in this state which, to the extent practicable and with consideration for their fiscal impact, incorporate general objectives and goals for sentencing, including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) Offenders must receive sentences that increase in direct proportion to the severity of their crimes and their histories of criminality.
(b) Offenders who have extensive histories of criminality or who have exhibited a propensity to commit crimes of a predatory or violent nature must receive sentences which reflect the need to ensure the safety and protection of the public and which allow for the imprisonment for life of such offenders.
(c) Offenders who have committed offenses that do not include acts of violence and who have limited histories of criminality must receive sentences which reflect the need to conserve scarce economic resources through the use of various alternatives to traditional forms of incarceration.
(d) Offenders with similar histories of criminality who are convicted of similar crimes must receive sentences that are generally similar.
(e) Offenders sentenced to imprisonment must receive sentences which do not confuse or mislead the public as to the actual time those offenders must serve while incarcerated or before being released from confinement or supervision.
(f) Offenders must not receive disparate sentences based upon factors such as race, gender or economic status.
(g) Offenders must receive sentences which are based upon the specific circumstances and facts of their offenses, including the nature of the offense and any aggravating factors, the savagery of the offense, as evidenced by the extent of any injury to the victim, and the degree of criminal sophistication demonstrated by the offenderís acts before, during and after commission of the offense.
4. Compile and develop statistical information concerning sentencing in this state.
5. For each regular session of the Legislature, prepare a comprehensive report including the Commissionís recommended changes in the structure of sentencing in this State, the Commissionís findings and any recommendations of the Commission for proposed legislation. The report must be submitted to the Legislature not later than 10 days after the commencement of the session.
Last modified: February 25, 2006